Frontiers has introduced many new and revolutionary concepts to publishing and research networking. Below is a list of publishing and Frontiers jargon that you may find useful.



Board of Editors

Every Frontiers Journal or Section is run by a Board of Editors to which experts are appointed. Boards of Editors are extended to ensure that all niches are appropriately covered. They are organized as follows: each Field Journal is chaired by the Field Chief Editor. Field Journals are composed of Specialty Journals and/or Specialty Sections each run by its own full editorial board, which is headed by a Specialty Chief Editor and composed of Associate and Review Editors. The tasks for each editorial role are well-defined, so that the assignments are evenly distributed and the review process is as efficient as possible.


Collaborative Peer Review

Peer-review is at the heart of scholarly publishing. The general concept of collaborative peer review focuses on researchers working together to improve manuscripts and ensure that published work is sound.

Frontiers believes that peer-review should be rigorous, fair for authors and reviewers, as well as constructive, transparent and efficient. Through our innovative review platform, we have introduced a unique collaborative review, uniting authors, reviewers and editors in an online discussion forum. This allows quick iterations and facilitates consensus and editorial decisions. Editors, reviewers and authors collaborate together towards the improvement of submitted manuscripts.



Frontiers is a community-rooted open-access publisher. Our journals are run by over 50’000 researchers from more than 5’000 universities worldwide. These active researchers take all editorial decisions regarding manuscripts, while the Frontiers staff provide support and guidance in running the journals and keeping the review process on track according to our Frontiers principles. Our approach to publishing is community-driven and democratic.


Frontiers is a platform for truly cross-disciplinary collaborations. This is best realized by one of Frontiers’ key features: cross-listing of Specialties. Frontiers understands the importance of placing research into the hands of the most relevant experts, both during the review process and after publication. Cross-listed Specialties enable authors to consider both the most relevant editorial board and the most suitable audience when submitting to our journals.

When submitting a first tier manuscript authors are required to choose the most appropriate audience by selecting a Field Journal among those that cover the Specialty they are submitting to. This way, if the article rises to the next tier it will be highlighted in the Field Journal originally selected by the author.

This cross-listing feature provides a non-imposing structure that is naturally shaped by authors and helps research knowledge to cross disciplinary boundaries more fluently.


Democratic Tiering

Democratic Tiering refers to the mechanisms that Frontiers implemented to distil and highlight academically excellent and socially relevant research articles to a broader audience.

In the Frontiers Journal Series accepted articles are initially published in the first tier. Following publication of a Frontiers article, the impact metric data is collected, evaluated and used as a basis for our Chief Editors to invite authors of high impact articles to write Focused Reviews, a free article type that puts the original discovery into a wider context, for a broader audience and a deeper impact, and published under the Field Journal.

Following the Frontiers Evaluation System, the most outstanding articles can progressively climb up the Frontiers Tiering system while addressing an increasingly wider audience. The tiering levels are based on the Frontiers taxonomy, so that tier 1 publishes articles addressing Specialty audiences, tier 2 publishes articles addressing Field audiences, and eventually tier 3 will publish articles addressing Domain audiences.


The Frontiers taxonomy divides academic research into domains constituting the highest level (tier 3) of the taxonomy: Science, Health, Engineering, and Humanities and Social Sciences. Within each domain a number of fields are covered, e.g. Science contains Neuroscience, Earth Science, Physiology, etc. Each field is sub-divided into a number of specialties. Those specialties have independent editorial boards and can be associated with multiple fields, allowing cross-listing of research articles and other content.



Frontiers’ e-books are bundled collections of articles contributed to Frontiers Research Topics, or conference abstracts, and freely available for download in PDF and EPUB formats.


Browsable e-magazines of past issues of the Field Journal Frontiers in Neuroscience are freely available for download.

Equal Opportunity Publishing

Frontiers’ mission and vision is to build an Open Science platform where everybody has equal opportunity to seek, share and generate knowledge and that empowers researchers and scholars in their daily work. Our Equal Opportunity Publishing model reaches toward universal access and democratic peer evaluation, and is a blend of widely accepted concepts and innovations, including open access, innovative peer review, democratic post-publication evaluation, community-driven service, interdisciplinarity, free knowledge dissemination, and research networking.



Each Frontiers domain is composed of a number of fields, roughly representing large research communities such as, for instance, neuroscience (Science domain), psychiatry (Health domain), or bioengineering and biotechnology (Engineering domain). Each field is assigned to only one domain; however, recognizing the interdisciplinarity of scholarly work, specialties may be assigned to multiple Field Journals and allow cross-listing.

Field Journal

Field Journals are headed by a Field Chief Editor and composed of a number of Specialty Journals and/or Specialty Sections. Only Field Journals publish the prestigious tier 2 article types, i.e., Focused Reviews and Frontiers Commentaries. These articles represent the best research in a field as judged by democratic tiering based on community interest. Moreover, Field Journals also publish first tier articles submitted to their Specialty Sections.

Frontiers Commentary

A Frontiers Commentary is a prestigious, tier 2, invitation-only commentary that emphasizes an outstanding discovery which was previously published as original research at Frontiers and was selected by the Frontiers Tiering system, based on online article level impact metrics and vetted by the respective Chief Editors.

Frontiers Media SA

Frontiers Media SA operates an open-access publishing platform using an author-pay business model, has a commercial mandate to develop multiple revenue streams that can be used to support open-access publishing, as well as a technology mandate to ensure that scientists benefit from cutting edge IT technologies.

Focused Review

A Focused Review is a prestigious, tier 2, invitation-only article that highlights an outstanding discovery which was previously published as original research at Frontiers and was selected by the Frontiers Tiering system, based on online article level impact metrics and vetted by the respective Chief Editors.


Independent Review

The Independent Review phase is the first of the two phases composing Frontiers full reviews. In this phase, Review Editors individually assess a manuscript according to a standardized questionnaire provided by Frontiers and submit their Independent Review Reports, after which the Associate Editor can activate the Interactive Review.

Interactive Review

The Interactive Review phase is the second of the two phases composing Frontiers full reviews, and the sole phase of Frontiers short reviews. For full reviews, it is activated by the Associate Editor once reviewers provide their Independent Review Reports. For short reviews, the Interactive Review is immediately activated. During this phase, authors, reviewers and editors can interact in an online dialogue through the Frontiers Collaborative Review Forum, a custom-designed review platform streamlining the review process.

Impact Metrics

Impact metrics measure the overall performance and reach of articles and authors in a more objective and crowd-sourced way. Article-Level Metrics quantify the reach and impact of published research, incorporating data from new sources (such as social media mentions) along with traditional measures (such as citations) to present a richer picture of how an individual article is being discussed, shared, and used.

These metrics are available immediately for every article published by Frontiers, as well as their authors. The article metrics also provide the basis for the selection of outstanding articles in what is known as Frontiers Tiering.

The Frontiers Impact Metrics offer a real-time view of:

  • Views & downloads
  • Citations
  • Social buzz (through data)
  • Registered visitor demographics including: age, region and field of interest
  • Aggregated author impact metrics
  • Loop profile views


Journal Series

The Frontiers Journal Series is an interdisciplinary set of open-access online journals, covering an increasing number of domains, fields and specialties. At present, Frontiers journals can be either Specialty Journals (publishing first tier articles) or Field Journals (publishing first tier articles in so-called Specialty sections and second tier articles in the field journal).



Loop is Frontiers' online research network for researchers, academics and scholars, with a mission to maximise the impact for scientists and their articles. Loop is the only network that integrates into journals or academic and institutional websites. Loop launched as an integration into both the Nature Publishing Group and Frontiers’ journal series.

Loop profiles are a showcase of a registered user’s publications, achievements and impact. The platform also disseminates articles and maximizes readership.

Advanced algorithms also ensure the most relevant research is delivered to users in their personal activity streams, allowing users to stay on top of the latest discoveries and to connect with researchers of similar interests.



The Frontiers platform is the heart of the whole Frontiers system. It employs the latest Internet technologies in terms of analytics, interactivity, integration and functionalities in general. Frontiers took its entire publishing process online, providing new solutions to streamline peer-review, publish, evaluate and disseminate articles. The platform is continuously evolving with new technological improvements and based on feedback from the community.


Research Networking

Research Networking tools serve as management systems to gather relevant information from many sources, repositories and databases in a centralised, useful and searchable platform.

The Frontiers platform integrates a networking system, re-released in 2015 as an integrated Research Network called Loop.

Research Topics

Frontiers Research Topic is a unique concept in which experts or leading scientists manage the publication of a collection of peer-reviewed articles around their own focused area of research. Frontiers showcases your sub-field of work, stimulates discussion, catalyses collaboration and maximizes the impact of the articles published under the Research Topic.

Frontiers has developed an online platform to assist researchers and scholars in running Research Topics. Over 6’000 Research Topics have already been launched, 70’000 authors have contributed, and Research Topic articles have received over 30 million views and downloads, as of October 2014.



Specialties compose the first tier of the Frontiers taxonomy. They are independent from fields and free to float across the various Frontiers fields that are relevant to them. They reflect the interdisciplinary, cross-listed nature of academic research and recognize that more and more often, research covers interdisciplinary topics and crosses the border of an academic field, sometimes even of a domain. In this sense, Frontiers fields can be regarded as umbrellas that house specialties. Frontiers Specialties have their own journal or section homepage and independent board of editors, composed of experts from the fields relevant to them. Any time a new Field Journal is launched, it may contribute new aspects to an already existing Specialty Journal or Section. Existing specialties are not duplicated in any new field but rather cross-listed, and additional experts from the new field are integrated into the editorial board of this specialty as Associate and Review Editors and, if appropriate, a further Specialty Chief Editor can be appointed. This creates an integrative and synergistic publishing structure by fostering interdisciplinary contributions and exposing specialties present in different fields to a much wider audience.

Specialty Journal

Specialty Journals are highly successful first tier specialties that have reached a sustainable number of articles per month. Only when this threshold is reached, articles are published under the specialty name, e.g., Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Specialty Section

Specialty Sections operate with their own homepage and independent board of editors. Articles published in a Specialty Section are displayed together on the specialty homepage and shared with followers of that specialty, however the citation of the articles will be linked to the field selected upon submission. Authors submitting to a cross-listed Specialty Section can select the most suitable audience for their article by selecting the most relevant field journal. The choice of a specific Specialty Section for submission should be based on the mission statement and the editorial board, ensuring that the authors’ manuscript is edited and reviewed by the most relevant experts.


Tiering system

Frontiers utilizes a tiering selection method to identify outstanding original research and make it more accessible to the wider research communities as well as the general public. For more information, please see ‘Democratic tiering’ section in this Glossary, and the Tiering System pages.


Young Minds or Frontiers for Young Minds

Frontiers for Young Minds is a non-profit scientific journal for which young people serve not only as the target audience, but also as critical participants in the review of manuscripts written by expert researchers. It connects 8-15 year olds directly with leading scientists, working together to provide feedback on articles about cutting-edge discoveries. The end result is a journal of freely available, peer-reviewed, scientific articles shaped for younger audiences and the broader public.